BYU COUGARS

Sitake On Opening Season With Utah: ‘It’s Added Something For Our Players’

Aug 25, 2019, 2:12 PM | Updated: Aug 26, 2019, 9:52 am
Courtesy: BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey...
Courtesy: BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey

PROVO, Utah – Kalani Sitake is preparing for his fourth rivalry game as head coach of BYU.

In his previous three meetings against the Utes, Sitake and his BYU teams have yet to come away victorious.

This year is a different wrinkle to the historic rivalry game. For the first time in the history of BYU versus Utah, the game is opening the season for both teams.

“To have it the first game of the year, it’s kind of added a little bit of something for our players and their preparation,” Sitake said on KSL Newsradio’s Cougar Sports Saturday. “I think we should do it every year at the beginning if it gets our guys focused so well and have them preparing as intently as they are.”

BYU players are motivated to end the eight-game losing streak to the Utes. The team breaks the huddle with ‘Beat Utah’ after every practice. Signage on the doors leading to the practice fields read, ‘Beat Utah.’ But it’s going to take a complete effort to spring the upset against the No. 14 team in the nation on Thursday night.

“They’ve never been like this before. I like to give the credit that the rivalry is such a huge game to these guys and it’s important,” said Sitake. “The fact that we ended last year with that game, they want to get back at it. So I think it just kind of worked out for us. Now that we recognize that the goal is to try and simulate that every year and have that happen with the preparation in the off-season.”

Sitake continued, “But not only that, let’s do this, this feeling that we have going into the Utah game and try to duplicate it another 11 times and hope we get another shot on playing together as a team.”

The placement of the rivalry game has been a debate since the two programs went their separate ways in 2011 with Utah going to the Pac-12 and BYU declaring their football independence.

Last year’s rivalry game was the regular-season finale for both teams, and it was underwhelming in terms of excitement and buildup. Utah was likely overlooking BYU as they had already clinched the Pac-12 South Division title and BYU had nothing on the line by already clinching bowl eligibility.

This year, both teams are dialed in and wanting to get off to fast starts to open their respective seasons. It’s the perfect spot for the BYU-Utah game going forward.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

  • BYU Cougars Scoreboard

  • BYU Cougars Team Leaders

  • BYU Cougars Standings

BYU Cougars

BYU Football, Owen Borg, Corner Canyon...
Brian Preece

Corner Canyon LB Says ‘Dream Come True’ After Committing To BYU

BYU football added to their class of 2023 with a commitment from Corner Canyon senior linebacker Owen Borg.
20 hours ago
BYU Football, Chase Roberts...
Mitch Harper

BYU Receiver Chase Roberts Makes Highlight Grab To Begin Week Two Of Camp

The latest observations from day four of BYU football fall camp practices.
20 hours ago
Payton Wilgar - BYU Cougars - Baylor Bears...
KSL Sports

60 in 60: #20 BYU’s Payton Wilgar (Linebacker)

Throughout the summer Hans & Scotty are counting down the top 60 college football players in the state of Utah as voted on by the media (and a fan ballot).
20 hours ago
Zach Wilson, New York Jets...
Brian Preece

Instant Replay: Quarterback Or Wideout? Zach Wilson Does It All

Former No. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson can seemingly do no wrong in his second NFL training camp with the New York Jets.
20 hours ago
Gunner Romney, BYU Football...
Mitch Harper

Gunner Romney Feels Better Than Ever Entering Final Season At BYU

Romney enters his final season at BYU.
3 days ago
Sitake On Opening Season With Utah: ‘It’s Added Something For Our Players’